Yesterday was my 28th birthday. Summer birthdays in my family happen in several layers. We do lunches, bbqs with friends, a family dinner, at least one wild night, and the actual day. I'm exhausted. Every minute was fantastic - the exact way I wanted to spend my birthday.
We kicked off the weekend with a bbq Thursday night at Andrew's and my place. About 20 friends gathered on the dock right on Lk Washington for a pot luck grill out. I made tequila soaked watermelon slices for the event. I have no pics to share - sorry! I will tell you it was beautiful; the weather was perfect, and we hung fabric solar-powered lanterns around the umbrella tables for low evening lighting.
Friday night was my night to celebrate Monica-style. I consider this to be the essential birthday activity, meaning if all other celebrating didn't happen and I only got to choose one thing to do, this would be it: family dinner. It was my mom's birthday celebration as well (hers is just 4 days before mine), so it makes sense that we rally into one grand feast. I come from a family of good cooks and control freaks, which sounds like a nightmare in the kitchen (you know the saying), but it actually works out really well once everyone has his/her station. My brother is easing his way into restaurant management from a line cook role, so I was able to sit back and enjoy my wine this year and let him give the orders. I can't believe he's so grown up.
my brother and me taking a break in the kitchen
My mom made a fresh green salad out of veggies she plucked from her garden. She has an amazing green thumb - something that never made its way to me. House plants fear me.
Andrew is my designated grill man. I do 90% of the cooking at home, and he does 100% of the grilling (something he is fantastic at). We are all-weather grillers. Luckily on Friday the weather was fantastic. We did chicken drumsticks, beef and zucchini skewers with red onion, and corn on the cob. We also grilled all the ingredients that went into the dipping sauces. It was an amazing meal.
my best friend Abby and god father GT
Really, what I wanted was a typical summer night at my parents' house: hanging out on the deck with wine, hors d'oeuvres, and some of my favorite people who have become family to me. Abby made a gorgeous chocolate-guinness cake (a Hot Buns Bakery fave), which we topped with a birthday candle my brother Brian and his gf Lorena bought at a fireworks stand. I've never seen anything like it in my life. It starts off with a huge rocket flame, and then the petals all open up, each adorned ith a candle, while the entire thing spins and sings happy birthday. Pretty fantastic.
Saturday we packed up the car and headed out at 1pm to Bellingham to celebrate Summer of Crab with Sabina (far right), and more importantly her engagement to Geoff, who has been hosting this party for years. Six of her ladyfriends trucked up for the party, and we were all invited to camp in his back yard. After a couple detours on the way, we arrived at 5pm. After setting up the tent I promptly had 2 strong mojitos on an empty stomach. I became a charmer, a fantastic dancer, and found everything hilarious. Monica, Monica, Monica....
all the ladies assembledOh what a night. I woke up grouchy with a headache on the day of my birthday, which could be placated with nothing other than an Americano from sbux. At least I had my ladies there to laugh at me.
That night, Andrew took me to see Death Cab for Cutie at Marymoor Park. Again, the weather was perfect and we arrived early to get dinner and set out our blanket. It was a fantastic show. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
view from our blanket
hanging out on the grass enjoying summer life